Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Glehnia littoralis - American glehnia

Family: Apiaceae [E-flora]

Other Names: Beach-carrot [PCBC2004]

"Glehnia littoralis is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft). It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil." [PFAF]


General: "Perennial herb from a stout woody taproot; stemless or with short stems and strongly sheathing leaf stalks buried in the sand." [IFBC-E-flora]
Leaves: "Basal leaves spreading, often prostrate, thick and firm, glabrous above, white woolly beneath, once or twice divided in 3's; leaflets broadly elliptic to egg-shaped, coarsely toothed." [IFBC-E-flora]
Flowers: "Inflorescence of several compact clusters; stalks hairy, 1.5-5 cm long; flowers white, small." [IFBC-E-flora]
Fruits: "Oblong egg-shaped to globose, 6-13 mm long, somewhat flattened, glabrous or hairy towards tip, with broadly corky-winged ribs." [IFBC-E-flora]

Habitat / Range
"Moist to mesic coastal dunes and sandy beaches in the lowland zone; infrequent on the Queen Charlotte Islands and Vancouver Island; amphiberingian, N to AK and S to N CA; E. Asia." [IFBC-E-flora] "Coastal dunes and sandy beaches; scattered the length of our region, but in Alaska only on Kodiak Island and in the Yakutat area." [PCBC2004]

Origin Status: Native [IFBC-E-flora]

"Glehnia littoralis is a perennial herb grown in Japan, Korea and China. The young buds are edible and the roots and rhizomes are used in traditional medicine." [Gould A]

Edible Uses

Leaves & Stems  

"Leaves and stems[105, 116, 174, 177]." [PFAF]

Young Buds  

"Young buds[174]. They are dug out from the sand[174]." [PFAF]


"Roots[105, 116, 177]. Used as a condiment, resembling tarragon and angelica[46]." [PFAF]

Medicinal Uses


"The root is analgesic, antibacterial, antipyretic, diaphoretic and expectorant[174, 176, 279].It is used in the treatment of coughs in China[266]. It is used in Korea in the treatment of migraine headaches[279]." [PFAF]

Root - Used "In stiff shoulders, neuralgia, rheumatism, muscle and joint injury" [UNIDO Asia]

Traditional Chinese Medicine

"Sha Shen (Radix Glehniae Littoralis)
Standard daily dosage: 9-15g
AH: Safe when used appropriately
B&G: According to some traditional sources, antagonizes Fang Ji
(Radix Aristolochiae Fangchi) and is incompatible with Li Lu (Rhizoma Et Radix Veratri)." [Jennes HTDI]

Beishashen (Glehnia littoralis)
Part Used: root.
Flavor/Nature: sweet; slightly cold.
Meridian Affinity: Lung and Stomach Meridians.
Actions: clears the lungs, nourishes Yin, tonifies the stomach and generates body fluids.
Indications: (1) Yin deficiency with lung Heat causing dry or consumptive cough and hemoptysis. (2) Febrile illness impairing body fluids and causing dry mouth, thirst and poor appetite.
Dosage/Administration: 10–15 g.
Cautions/Contraindications: Contraindicated in deficiency Cold; incompatible with lilu (Veratrum)" [Liu ECM]

"Glehnia It is the root of Glehnia littoralis F. Schmidt ex Mig. (Umbelliferae).
Effect. Removing heat from the lung, nourishing yin, strengthening the stom- ach and enhancing the production of body fluid.
Indication. Dryness cough or phthisic cough with hemoptysis due to the lung- heat and yin deficiency; consumption of body fluid due to febrile disease of dry tongue, thirst, anorexia, etc." [Xinrong TCM]

Bei Za Seng - "Anthelmintic, for chronic bronchitis, cough and hoarseness, antiproliferative activities, antimycobacterial, immunosuppressive activities." [CRNAH]

glehnia littoralis [CRNAH]

"Jinfukang, Astragalus-based herbal formula, is an oral liquid formulation developed in China, where it is approved by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), the Chinese equivalent of the US FDA, for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Jinfukang contains extracts from 12 botanical medicines including Astragalus, Glehnia littoralis, Asparagus cochinchinensis, Ligustrum lucidum, Selaginella doederleinii, Paris polyphylla, Epimedium sagittatum, Gynostemma pentaphyllum, Cornus officinalis, Salvia chinensis, Ophiopogon japonicas, and Trigonella foenum graecum. Jinfukang given orally at 75 ml/m2 for at least 3 weeks was reported to alleviate side effects and improve the efficacy of chemotherapy in NSCLC patients (Liu et al. 2000; McCulloch et al. 2006). In patients with NSCLC, (n = 21), Jinfukang given four 10 ml vials three times daily (120 ml/day) for 24 days had no significant impact on the pharmacokinetics of docetaxel (Cassileth et al. 2009). Median time to progression or withdrawal from treatment was 7 weeks. Twelve patients were removed from study for progression of disease; nine patients withdrew. However, the size of this study is too small and further rigorous studies in a large cohort of patients are needed." [Cho MMVC]


"The extracts of Asarum caudatum, Balsamorhiza sagittata roots, Empetrum nigrum branches, Fragaria chiloensis leaves, Gilia aggregata aerial parts and roots, Glehnia littoralis roots, Heracleum lanatum roots, Heuchera cylindrica roots, Rhus glabra branches were also active against all 9 fungi." [mccutcheon1994]


"(leaf, root) Stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol, imperatorin, psoralen, osthenol-7- o-β-gentiobioside, petroselenic acid, petroselidinic acid, polyine, polysaccharides, falcalindiol, anthocyanin, furanocoumarin." [CRNAH]

Phytoalexins - Furanocoumarins: bergapten; demethylsuberosin; psoralen; xanthotoxin. Fungi, bacteria and abiotic elicitors - Bacterium: Pseudomonas cichorii [Wink APR39]

"The plant is likely to require a light, well-drained soil in a sunny position[K]." [PFAF]

"Seed - we have no information for this species, but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in the early spring. If fresh seed can be obtained, then it would be a good idea to sow some of it immediately in a greenhouse in case, like several other species in this family, it has a short viability. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the early summer. Consider giving the plants some protection from the cold during their first winter." [PFAF]



Glehnia Sp.

1 sp. (P. von Glehn, Russian botanist, 19th century) [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Glehnia littoralis - American glehnia [E-flora][PCBC2004]


Page last modified on 2:53 AM April 17, 2024